My mother-in-law, Alyce, was a great one. Man, was she a gas, the way just being a character is worth the watch. Along the way, she taught me some fun things about cooking, too, food traditions that might serve all of us during these difficult days.

She and my father-in-law lived on Lake Erie, just northeast of Cleveland. Most everyone in the family, being very Roman Catholic, sat down to many a Friday fish fry. So, in time, this Colorado boy learned about his first walleye and coho, yellow perch and whitefish.

One afternoon, Alyce announced that for dinner we were going to have “mustgos,” to me a hitherto unfamiliar lake fish.

When we sat down to the dining room table, however, it was strewn with a whole bunch of this-and-that: a casserole of scalloped potatoes from the night before, reheated and on a trivet; small bowls of pepperoncini; olives and salami slices; and even some three-bean salad that had come from the grocer a couple of days before.